NoLo on the go!
With sales of non-alcoholic beer tripling since 2017, it’s clear that Irish consumers are increasingly appreciating the benefits of the no and low (NoLo) alcohol category, delivering the taste credentials of their favourite alcoholic brands but crucially, without any hangover symptoms, writes Gillian Hamill
23 October 2023
The latest data proves that Irish people are continuing to embrace non-alcoholic beer and other no or low alcohol alternatives. As more and more consumers opt to choose 0.0% beer, Ireland’s brewers have responded by producing high quality non-alcoholic beers in recent years. This has resulted in an unprecedented choice of 0.0% beers for consumers.
Figures compiled by Drinks Ireland show that non-alcoholic beer sales in Ireland have more than tripled between 2017 and 2021, from 1.79 million to 5.55 million litres. The market share for non-alcoholic beer soared by 275% during this time, from 0.4% to 1.5%.
The industry anticipates that non-alcoholic beer will soar in popularity this year and beyond, as Irish consumers seek more balance in their drinking and avail of the growing range of alternatives now available. According to Drinks Ireland, this will mirror what’s happening internationally, with the global non-alcoholic beer category predicted to grow annually by 8.7% between 2021 and 2025.
While this trend is driven by non-alcoholic beer in Ireland, sales of non-alcoholic cider and low/no alcoholic spirits both grew in 2021, by 52% and 314% respectively.
0% alcohol; 100% flavour
With two in five wine drinkers globally reducing their alcohol consumption, Santa Rita is continuing to beat the drum for this category with their Santa Rita 120 0% de-alcoholised wine.
Available as a Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon, these are the perfect alternative for those who choose not to drink alcohol. The wine is made using traditional methods with the spinning cone column distillation process used to de-alcoholise the wine after alcoholic fermentation is completed.
The spinning cones gently and repeatedly spin the wine out into thin liquid films, simultaneously a cool vapour created from the wine itself rises from below and carries off all the lightest molecules in the liquid. The process is repeated until the desired level of alcohol is reached. This is a very gentle and sympathetic technique which works well in reducing alcoholic content yet retains the delicate aromas and flavours of the wines.
‘Research has shown that regular wine drinkers have been decreasing over the last couple of years and consumer are now shopping with mental and physical wellness in mind,” says Terry Pennington, export commercial director of Santa Rita Estates. “Current trends are towards healthier lifestyles and more moderate alcohol consumption with the younger generations looking for low/no alcohol alternatives. The addition of our Santa Rita 120 ‘0%’ alcohol wines is perfect for those looking for low and no alcohol alternatives without compromising taste, flavour, or enjoyment.”
Noreast is an independent family business based in Dundalk which has been specialising in sourcing, importing and marketing an exclusive range of the finest NoLo beers to the Irish drinks trade since its formation in 1995 such as Erdinger, Budvar and Krombacher.
Erdinger Alkoholfrei (ABV 0.5%) is produced exclusively in the Bavarian town of Erding. It is brewed to the highest standards according to the strict Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Besides being pleasingly refreshing, it has reduced calories (107 kj/25 Kcal per 100ml). The monosaccharides, like glucose and fructose, contained in Erdinger Alkoholfrei provide energy quickly, while polysaccharides (carbohydrates) provide longer-lasting energy.
A unique success story, in the late 90s, Erdinger Weissbräu revolutionized the beer market with its Erdinger Alkoholfrei – the first non-alcoholic beer to also be a true sports drink*.
With its isotonic properties, vitamin B12 and folic acid (B9), Erdinger Alkoholfrei is the ideal regeneration drink after sports. Vitamins B12 and B9 have numberous positive effects for the human body, including stimulating the immune system and helping to preserve normal muscle activity. This non-alcoholic wheat beer meets the needs of a large sporting target group seeking natural refreshment.
These features allowed Erdinger Alkoholfrei to quickly conquer a market previously dominated by pilsner and light beers. Its unique status is guaranteed by a full, aromatic and lively wheat beer taste – which only Erdinger Alkoholfrei has in this form.
Demonstrating continued innovation, Erdinger Alkoholfrei Grapefruit & Lemon (330ml NRB) represents a new taste for a new wheat beer generation. Featuring the bittersweet taste of fruit, it’s made using purely natural ingredients and without any artificial aromas or preservatives. Containing vitamins B9, B12 and C, it’s also isotonic. This fruity variant of Erdinger Alkoholfrei is particularly popular within the female target group.
Noreast also distributes Krombacher Alkoholfrei 0.0% Pils (330ml NRB) – an easy drinking and ultra refreshing with a well-balanced malt character and light hop aromas; Kilbroney Irish Water; and Estrella Free Damm. This non-alcoholic member of the Spanish Estrella family is a clean, sparkling, transparent amber colour with shades of gold. A beer that is fresh with just the right amount of bitterness, available in 330ml cans.
A true trailblazer
Delivering an unrivalled taste with zero alcohol, McGuigan Wines pledges to make great quality wine accessible to everyone around the world for every occasion.
The company has subsequently been named IWSC International Winemaker of the Year a record breaking four times and its commitment to alcohol free wines is no different. McGuigan Zero is a trailblazer in its category.
The range offers an unparalleled alcohol-free experience both on the nose and palate, launching with Shiraz, Chardonnay, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc and Sparkling variants. It’s created using state-of-the-art spinning cone technology. By drawing the wine into super fine layers for efficient vaporisation, alcohol may be removed at lower temperatures than ever before, thus resulting in a truly beautiful tasting product. The fruit has been sourced and selected specially for McGuigan Zero from premium vineyards in Southeastern Australia.
The quality of the fruit and its adaptability to the alcohol removal process ensures that customers are drinking the best possible alcohol-free wines. McGuigan Wines, Ireland’s number one Australian wine brand, is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Another number one hit!
“I am over the moon with the incredible response to this latest addition to the Kylie Minogue Wines portfolio,” said global pop icon Kylie Minogue. “Our first zero-alcohol wine and a truly sparkling example what can be achieved in this area! This really is a tribute to my amazing Kylie Minogue Wines team – ever since we launched, we have focused on delivering many varietals of innovative and high-quality wine, for every occasion and person, worldwide. Our Zero Percent Sparkling Rosé is no exception, and I am beyond thrilled it has been received so well. Thank you for the continued support.”
In December 2022, Kylie Minogue Wines launched its first 0% alcohol Sparkling Rosé in the UK and Ireland, with flavours and acidic balance mirroring that found in wine. Through a blend of Organic European grapes and green tea selected from the Liu-Da Mountains of Yunnan province in China, Kylie Minogue Wines’ 0% alcohol production process provides maximum development of wine attributes without generating any alcohol.
The careful selection of ingredients is reflected in the extraction process of the tea, with one bud and two leaves individually hand-plucked at a time. Brewed into a strong infusion and added to the grape ferment, the result is an additional mouthfeel and finish, rounded off with dried tannins to present a complex and finely balanced Sparkling Rosé, minus the alcohol.
Kylie Minogue Wines’ Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé contains just 22 calories per 100ml which is around 80 less calories per glass than a standard glass of prosecco*, making it a delicious, lighter alternative. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
*(Source: DrinkAware.co.uk 125ml glass of 12% ABV Prosecco contains around 108 calories).
Punked up flavour
No-alcohol just got punked up. And Punk AF lives up to its billing, with all the flavour but none of the alcohol. Brewed with eight different hops from North America, New Zealand and Europe: juicy tropical fruit mixes it up with grassy and pine notes, for a beer that’s all flavour, no alcohol. All sitting on a solid malt bassline.
The bitter finish belies its ABV, rolling in at 35 IBUs to provide the perfect retort to those who push alcohol-free beer devoid of character. BrewDog is on a mission to prove that alcohol-free does not equate to taste-free. And now the brand has delivered a new alternative to the mainstream. A beer for those seeking a point of difference at 0.5% ABV that brings all the attitude of the flagship, Punk IPA. Punk IPA was the beer that kick-started the craft beer revolution and Punk AF is the next step in the brand’s desire to brew beer for every taste, for every occasion. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.